Show 383, July 25, 2020: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris

Restaurateur Steve Livigni (Scopa Italian Roots & DAMA) is the Food & Beverage Partner for the newly opened June Hotel in Westchester. This is the more casual sister brand of Proper Hotel group. “The first restaurant to launch there is the breezy, Baja-inspired Caravan Swim Club, a 2-story outdoor poolside gathering place for everything from cabana drinks to fire pit gatherings, creative meetings to laid-back lounging. The menus take you on a culinary road trip from Santa Barbara to Northern Baja, Mexico. Enjoy seasonal snacks like charcuterie, ceviche and a raw bar paired with biodynamic wines, craft beer, and small-batch tequila.” Steve Livigni joins us with all the details.

Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world. Redbird is open for dine-in with three desirable outdoor seating options including the original Redbird Courtyard. Easy to make reservations on Tock. Currently Redbird is also offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu, Redbird at Home. Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

Barbecue afficionados have been eagerly anticipating the pending arrival of Daniel and Brenda Castillo’s Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano. They have developed a fanatical following for their Central Texas-style barbecue (that’s cooked low and slow) served in Orange County at popular pop-ups at area craft breweries. Daniel has trained extensively with prominent Texas pitmasters at their respective establishments. The soon-to-open restaurant with the capacity to serve several hundred guests per day (seven days a week) will be all outdoors.

We pull Chef Daniel away from the custom twin offset smokers for a chat.

“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in THE CAMP in Costa Mesa has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.” Chef / Proprietor Mark McDonald joins us with all the specifics.

We’ve previously introduced listeners to Darley Newman of PBS’s “Travels with Darley.” “JOURNY, the free AVOD travel channel from Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, is now presenting the first season (13 episodes) of the Daytime Emmy-Nominated show “Travels with Darley.”  The series follows six-time Emmy Award-nominated host and producer Darley Newman as she travels with local people in beautiful and awe-inspiring locations (including California) to experience history, culture, food, music, art and adventure.” Darley Newman joins us from somewhere on the road to chronicle her new adventures. 

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… Please keep in mind common courtesy and politeness when dining. Your server is wearing a mask and face shield for your protection. It’s hard to hear them talk so be patient. It’s never easy being a server but it’s even tougher right now. Great time to be considerate. Tip generously… We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef,” for added insight.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Play

Show 383, July 25, 2020: Executive Chef & Partner, Mark McDonald, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Costa Mesa

Mark McDonald of Old Vine Kitchen and Bar“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in Costa Mesa at THE CAMP has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.”

“We’re excited to extend our signature Old Vine experience to two new beautiful outdoor spaces, The Roof and The Stairway Patio, which give our restaurant the space needed for social distancing and ensuring our guests’ safety,” said Old Vine Kitchen & Bar’s proprietor and Chef Mark McDonald. “We are proud to welcome our customers back, knowing that our restaurant has fully implemented all city, county, and state safety protocols, and trained our excellent staff accordingly. Guest and staff well-being is always our first priority.”

“Returning diners will be delighted to find brand new bar and dinner menus from Chef McDonald, who has helmed Old Vine’s kitchen for more than 13 years. From revamped old favorites, such as Old Vine’s Caprese of Burrata, to soon-to-be classics, such as a new, four course cocktail pairing tasting menu, guests are sure to savor his fresh takes on Old Vine’s signature regional cuisine, always crafted with top quality food products and now a totally scratch kitchen.”

“Our whole team took advantage of this quieter time, and we all found new inspiration, whether in the kitchen, with the wine list, or behind the bar,” co-owner Kate Perry said. “The result is updated bar and dinner menus, a range of new vegan and vegetarian options, and as always, a commitment to serving and building our Old Vine family.”

Chef Mark McDonald joins us.

Play

July 25: Caravan Swim Club, Neal Fraser, Heritage Barbecue, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Darley Newman

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Steve Livigni, Food & Beverage Partner, June Hotel & Caravan Swim Club
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Neal Fraser, Redbird & Vibiana, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Daniel Castillo of Heritage Barbecue, San Juan Capistrano Part One
Segment Five: Chef / Proprietor Daniel Castillo of Heritage Barbecue, San Juan Capistrano Part Two
Segment Six: Executive Chef & Partner, Mark McDonald, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Costa Mesa
Segment Seven: Travel Journalist Darley Newman – “Travels with Darley”
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Restaurateur Steve Livigni (Scopa Italian Roots & DAMA) is the Food & Beverage Partner for the newly opened June Hotel in Westchester. This is the more casual sister brand of Proper Hotel group. The first restaurant to launch there is the breezy, Baja-inspired Caravan Swim Club, a 2-story outdoor poolside gathering place for everything from cabana drinks to fire pit gatherings, creative meetings to laid-back lounging. The menus take you on a culinary road trip from Santa Barbara to Northern Baja, Mexico. Enjoy seasonal snacks like charcuterie, ceviche and a raw bar paired with biodynamic wines, craft beer, and small-batch tequila. Steve Livigni joins us with all the details.

Chef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world. Redbird is open for dine-in with three desirable outdoor seating options including the Redbird Courtyard. Easy to make reservations on Tock. Currently Redbird is offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu, Redbird at Home. Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

Barbecue afficionados have been eagerly anticipating the pending arrival of Daniel and Brenda Castillo’s Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano. They have developed a fanatical following for their Central Texas-style barbecue (that’s cooked low and slow) served in Orange County at popular pop-ups at area craft breweries. Daniel has trained extensively with prominent Texas pitmasters at their respective establishments. The soon-to-open restaurant with the capacity to serve several hundred guests per day (seven days a week) will be all outdoors.

We pull Chef Daniel away from the twin smokers for a chat.

“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in THE CAMP in Costa Mesa has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.” Chef / Proprietor Mark McDonald joins us with all the specifics.

We’ve previously introduced listeners to Darley Newman of PBS’s “Travels with Darley.” “JOURNY, the free AVOD travel channel from Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, is now presenting the first season (13 episodes) of the Daytime Emmy-Nominated show “Travels with Darley.”  The series follows six-time Emmy Award-nominated host and producer Darley Newman as she travels with local people in beautiful and awe-inspiring locations (including California) to experience history, culture, food, music, art and adventure.” Darley Newman joins us from somewhere on the road to chronicle her new adventures.

Our own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps… Please keep in mind common courtesy and politeness when dining. Your server is wearing a mask and face shield for your protection. It’s hard to hear them talk so be patient. It’s never easy being a server but it’s even tougher right now. Great time to be considerate. Tip generously… We’ll, of course “Ask the Chef,” for added insight.

All of this and heaping helpings of extra deliciousness (with proper Social Distancing) on this week’s not-to-miss show!

Steve Livigni of Scenic Route and the Caravan Swim ClubRestaurateur Steve Livigni (Scopa Italian Roots & DAMA) is the Food & Beverage Partner for the newly opened June Hotel in Westchester. This is the inaugural, more casual sister brand of Proper Hotel group.

The first restaurant to launch there is the breezy Baja-inspired Caravan Swim Club, a 2-story outdoor poolside gathering place for everything from cabana drinks to fire pit gatherings, creative meetings to laid-back lounging. The menus take you on a culinary road trip from Santa Barbara to Northern Baja, Mexico. Enjoy seasonal snacks like charcuterie, ceviche and a raw bar paired with biodynamic wines, craft beer, and small-batch tequilas.

Scenic Route is the future, all-day Lobby restaurant. Opening date in the next few months.

Steve Livigni is our guest with all the details.

Neal Fraser of RedbirdChef Neal Fraser and Amy Knoll Fraser’s flagship restaurant Redbird in Downtown Los Angeles features Modern American cuisine that is refined yet approachable and highlights the multi-cultural influences of Fraser’s native city – Los Angeles. Wine Director Josh Wibbenmeyer’s wine list is well rounded with great finds from both established and emerging wine regions throughout the world.

Redbird is open for dine-in with three desirable outdoor seating options including the Redbird Courtyard. Easy to make reservations on Tock.

Currently Redbird is also offering contactless curbside pickup with an a la carte menu, Redbird at Home.

Redbird also has been actively raising funds in creative ways to benefit their Black Student Scholarship fund at C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) via sales of their signature The Squeaky Door cocktail (with Artingstall’s Gin) and the Go Go Gyoza dumpling sales effort.

Executive Chef Neal Fraser is our guest.

Daniel Castillo of Heritage BarbecueBarbecue afficionados have been eagerly anticipating the pending arrival of Daniel and Brenda Castillo’s Heritage Barbecue in San Juan Capistrano. They have developed a fanatical following for their Central Texas-Style craft barbecue (that’s cooked low and slow) served in Orange County at popular pop-ups at area craft breweries. Daniel has trained extensively with prominent Texas pitmasters at their respective establishments. The soon-to-open restaurant with the capacity to serve several hundred guests per day (seven days a week) will be all outdoors.

Heritage is well-known for their brisket, tri-tip, chicken, ribs and sausages. There is even a proprietary barbecue cheesecake. All the proteins are cooked using California White Oak in twin, 1,000 gallon offset smokers crafted by Harper Barbecue in Costa Mesa.

Kingsford, the very familiar charcoal briquet firm, has recently launched a cash award program to recognize (and encourage) barbecue chefs nationwide. Chef Daniel was awarded $10,000 in May by Kingsford with no strings attached.

We pull Chef Daniel away from the twin smokers for a chat.

Mark McDonald of Old Vine Kitchen and Bar“The award-winning Old Vine Kitchen & Bar in Costa Mesa at THE CAMP has returned to the Orange County culinary scene by reopening on-premise dining with an emphasis on staff and guest safety and an expansion of its intimate dining experience. In addition to Old Vine’s popular backyard patio, guests can now spend evenings enjoying two newly-acquired outdoor dining spaces: The Roof and The Stairway Patio.”

“We’re excited to extend our signature Old Vine experience to two new beautiful outdoor spaces, The Roof and The Stairway Patio, which give our restaurant the space needed for social distancing and ensuring our guests’ safety,” said Old Vine Kitchen & Bar’s proprietor and Chef Mark McDonald. “We are proud to welcome our customers back, knowing that our restaurant has fully implemented all city, county, and state safety protocols, and trained our excellent staff accordingly. Guest and staff well-being is always our first priority.”

“Returning diners will be delighted to find brand new bar and dinner menus from Chef McDonald, who has helmed Old Vine’s kitchen for more than 13 years. From revamped old favorites, such as Old Vine’s Caprese of Burrata, to soon-to-be classics, such as a new, four course cocktail pairing tasting menu, guests are sure to savor his fresh takes on Old Vine’s signature regional cuisine, always crafted with top quality food products and now a totally scratch kitchen.”

“Our whole team took advantage of this quieter time, and we all found new inspiration, whether in the kitchen, with the wine list, or behind the bar,” co-owner Kate Perry said. “The result is updated bar and dinner menus, a range of new vegan and vegetarian options, and as always, a commitment to serving and building our Old Vine family.”

Chef Mark McDonald joins us.

Darley Newman of Travels with DarleyWe’ve previously introduced you to Darley Newman of PBS’s Travels with Darley.”JOURNY, the free AVOD travel channel from Ovation TV, America’s only arts network, is now presenting the first season (13 episodes) of the Daytime Emmy-Nominated show “Travels with Darley.”  The series follows six-time Emmy Award-nominated host and producer Darley Newman as she travels with local people in beautiful and awe-inspiring locations to experience history, culture, food, music, art and adventure.”

“As JOURNY is known to focus on immersive experiences and unique storytelling, each episode introduces viewers to diverse cultures and traditions and what makes each location truly unique. Darley’s on-camera local counterparts are the true stars of each episode, as they lead Darley through their world. Viewers learn about places and cultures that are less publicized by traditional media, as well as new things about places they thought they knew, bridging global cultures and inspiring viewers to look at the world in a new way.”

“JOURNY’s focus on cultural travel make it the perfect home for our immersive and experiential series,” said Newman. “We film in a style that allows viewers to feel like they are along with me on this global journey. I really got out of my comfort zone for extreme adventures and to share stories that showcase the diversity of our planet.”

“Shot in stunning 4K in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and USA, Darley takes viewers swimming with sharks in Dubai, bungee jumping off the world’s highest commercial tower in Macao, skiing in Tahoe with Olympian Jonny Moseley and free diving with a community of women whose centuries old practices in South Korea are recognized by UNESCO. Authentic cuisine is also a focus with Darley learning about sustainable oyster farming in California’s Morro Bay, trying retro street foods in Seoul and Emirati cuisine in Dubai.”

Darley Newman joins us from the road to chronicle her new adventures.

Chef Andrew Gruel savoring a New Jersey style PizzaOur own Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group provides another timely and informative “Ask the Chef” segment where Chef Andrew responds to listeners thoughtful inquiries. Chef Andrew is regularly updating us on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in the hospitality field and what we, as diners, can do to support the very survival of restaurants. Dine-in is slowly, with multiple hiccups, starting to come back but with a lot of new rules that restrict guest counts. Alternately Take-Out / Delivery when you can surely helps…

Please keep in mind common courtesy and politeness when dining out. Your server is wearing a mask and face shield for your protection. Nothing funny about it. It’s hard to hear them talk so be extra patient. It’s never easy being a server but it’s even tougher right now. Great time to be considerate. Remember to tip generously… We’ll, of course, “Ask the Chef.”

Podcasts

Segment One: Show Preview with Executive Producer & Co-Host Andy Harris
Segment Two: Restaurateur Steve Livigni, Food & Beverage Partner, June Hotel & Caravan Swim Club
Segment Three: Executive Chef & Partner Neal Fraser, Redbird & Vibiana, Los Angeles
Segment Four: Chef / Proprietor Daniel Castillo of Heritage Barbecue, San Juan Capistrano Part One
Segment Five: Chef / Proprietor Daniel Castillo of Heritage Barbecue, San Juan Capistrano Part Two
Segment Six: Executive Chef & Partner, Mark McDonald, Old Vine Kitchen & Bar, Costa Mesa
Segment Seven: Travel Journalist Darley Newman – “Travels with Darley”
Segment Eight: Co-Host Chef Andrew Gruel of the Slapfish Restaurant Group with “Ask the Chef”

Show 148, November 28, 2015: Chef Director Ryan Wagner, Culinary Lab Continues…

Ryan Wagner of CulinaryLabCulinaryLab, under the direction of Chef Director Ryan Wagner, differs from other training programs in the region by offering an immersive, hands-on approach that not only includes 28 weeks of professional chef-led training, but also incorporates an apprenticeship in a restaurant kitchen alongside some of Orange County’s most noted chefs. Local Chef Partners currently include Mark McDonald, Chef/Owner of Old Vine Café; Carlos Salgado, Chef/Owner of Taco Maria; Jason Quinn, Chef/Owner of Playground; Peter Petro, Executive Chef of Bosscat Kitchen and Libations; and Ashley Guzman, formerly Pastry Chef at North Left and 2015 Golden Foodie Award-Winner for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.”

Limited to nine students per class, CulinaryLab’s intimate culinary training sessions focus on teaching proper cooking techniques and allowing students to perfect each skill for two days per week over the course of seven months. Trained Chef Instructors will include the local restaurant community into the class curriculum to ensure that students gain valuable insight that will enable them to transition into the industry seamlessly upon graduating. Local chefs, farmers, artisans, authors, and food scientists will serve as special guests throughout the course to offer interactive demos, input, and teaching tools that help students learn about relevant areas of expertise.

Simultaneously, each student spends another two days per week at a local Orange County restaurant, where they put their training into practice alongside top chefs. Students are exposed to the real world of professional cooking, which serves to reinforce weekly lessons. Cooking techniques, vocabulary, and ingredients leave the classroom and come to life in a working kitchen.

“CulinaryLab serves as the necessary link between up-and-coming chefs and the restaurant community,” explains Ryan Wagner, Chef Director at CulinaryLab. “We are doing something unlike anyone else in the region – we’ve revived culinary education by making it relevant to the times. When they’re not in class, our students are in the kitchen with the area’s most noted chefs, gaining fast-paced, real-world experience not normally available to beginners.”

Local Chef Partners who are active in the Orange County community will serve as mentors as CulinaryLab students go through their mandatory apprenticeship program.

 

Play

Show 72, May 17, 2014: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Old Vine Café, now in its 6th year, is a real crowd-pleaser at The Camp in Costa Mesa. Owner/Chef Mark McDonald gives us the background.

When we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his TruckU Barbeque there. Now that his rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the saucy update…

After you’ve been the esteemed and high-profile editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel.

The Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age. One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. We’ll meet the chef.

Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach is a well-traveled authority on the foods of Baja. Her first cookbook Baja! Cooking on the Edge is now out in a 2nd edition.

What’s special about District Wine in Downtown Long Beach? Meet the personable proprietors Mark and Angela Dunton and you’ll know.

Our debonair, roving food and travel correspondent based in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Play

Show 72, May 17, 2014: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa

Mark McDonald of the Old Vine CafeSome six years ago owner/chef Mark McDonald opened the Old Vine Café hidden in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Unusually for a fine-dining establishment he serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Mark also has a serious wine program.

It’s top quality cuisine and wine in a non-pretentious, casual atmosphere. Mark did a lot of cooking in Southern Italy and that’s reflected on the seasonally changing menu.

Chef Mark really wants his guests to enjoy, and sample, new wines. His “6 for $60” wine program encourages this.

He also leads annual escorted tours to Italy in association with The Italian Culinary Institute.

Play

May 17: Old Vine Café, Truck U Barbecue, Ruth Reichl, Sheerwater, Deborah Schneider, District Wine, Kedric Francis

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine

Chef Jet and Producer Andy preview the show.

The Old Vine Café, now in its 6th year, is a real crowd-pleaser at The Camp in Costa Mesa. Owner/Chef Mark McDonald gives us the background.

When we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his TruckU Barbeque there. Now that his rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the saucy update…

After you’ve been the esteemed and high-profile editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel.

The Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age. One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. We’ll meet the chef.

Executive Chef Deborah Schneider of SOL Cocina and solita Tacos & Margaritas in Huntington Beach is a well-traveled authority on the foods of Baja. Her first cookbook Baja! Cooking on the Edge is now out in a 2nd edition.

What’s special about District Wine in Downtown Long Beach? Meet the personable proprietors Mark and Angela Dunton and you’ll know.

Our debonair, roving food and travel correspondent based in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

All of this and lots more absolutely incredible deliciousness on Saturday’s show!

Mark McDonald of the Old Vine CafeSome six years ago owner/chef Mark McDonald opened the Old Vine Café hidden in The Camp in Costa Mesa. Unusually for a fine-dining establishment he serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Chef Mark also has a serious wine program with a fun, educational component.

It’s top quality cuisine and wine in a non-pretentious, casual atmosphere. Mark did a lot of cooking in Southern Italy and that’s reflected on the seasonally changing menu.

Chef Mark really wants his guests to enjoy, and sample, new wines. His “6 for $60” wine program encourages this.

He also leads annual escorted tours to Italy in association with The Italian Culinary Institute. His next “Splendors of South Italy” tour (Calabria and Sicily) is set for March 20 to 29, 2015.

Mike Minor of Truck U Barbecue in Las VegasWhen we last visited Las Vegas Chef Mike Minor (ex-Executive Chef at Border Grill) he was just about to launch his Truck-U Barbeque there. Now that the rolling grill is on the road and serving guests we’ll get the meaty update…

The truck itself was designed by HGTV star Luca Paganico.

Chef Mike calls it “meat candy on wheels.” It’s “urban hipster” barbecue. The food is Mexican with a Southern twist.

Look for the Short Rib Enchiladas and the Chipotle Fried Chicken. How about Maple Bacon Churros…???

Ruth ReichlAfter you’ve been the esteemed editor of Gourmet Magazine and, prior to that, the powerful & influential restaurant critic of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times what’s next? In the case of our guest, Ruth Reichl, you pen your first novel. It’s Delicious! – A Novel.

“Ruth Reichl is a born storyteller. Through her restaurant reviews, where she celebrated the pleasures of a well-made meal, and her bestselling memoirs that address our universal feelings of love and loss, Reichl has achieved a special place in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers. Now, with this magical debut novel, she has created a sumptuous, wholly realized world that will enchant you.

Billie Breslin has traveled far from her home in California to take a job at Delicious!, New York’s most iconic food magazine. Away from her family, particularly her older sister, Genie, Billie feels like a fish out of water—until she is welcomed by the magazine’s colorful staff. She is also seduced by the vibrant downtown food scene, especially by Fontanari’s, the famous Italian food shop where she works on weekends. Then Delicious! is abruptly shut down, but Billie agrees to stay on in the empty office, maintaining the hotline for reader complaints in order to pay her bills.

To Billie’s surprise, the lonely job becomes the portal to a miraculous discovery. In a hidden room in the magazine’s library, Billie finds a cache of letters written during World War II by Lulu Swan, a plucky twelve-year-old, to the legendary chef James Beard. Lulu’s letters provide Billie with a richer understanding of history, and a feeling of deep connection to the young writer whose courage in the face of hardship inspires Billie to comes to terms with her fears, her big sister and her ability to open her heart to love.”

Sheerwater Restaurant at the Hotel Del CoronadoThe Hotel Del Coronado is California’s premier, classic beachfront hotel dating back to 1888. It represents the pinnacle of luxury from another age.

One of their casual restaurants, with an incredible ocean view, is Sheerwater. The Chef de Cuisine there is Charles “Chuck” Watson.

They pride themselves on using fresh, local, sustainable seafood where possible. Think Mexican prawns and Baja scallops for starters.

All of the fish trimmings at this high volume establishment contribute to the house-specialty cioppino.

Chef Chuck is the culinary liaison at the Del for the SEA + FOOD event on Saturday afternoon, June 7th on the Windsor Lawn. It’s a one-day Pacific coast food festival to remember with delicious local seafood, BBQ from the Lil’ Del BBQ, and libations including craft beers, wines and spirits. Live retro rhythm and blues music, too.

The Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to benefit childhood cancer research is the charitable beneficiary.

$100 admission includes tax, gratuities and parking. Adults only, please.

Deborah SchneiderChef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her role as Executive Chef and Partner of Mexican restaurants SOL Cocina (Newport Beach & Scottsdale, AZ) and solita (Huntington Beach & soon Valencia) Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and more than 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the superb tastes and relaxing beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula.

Schneider’s passion for Baja was stoked by countless surf trips down the Peninsula. There, at small street stands and on pristine beaches, she discovered flavorful, healthy cuisine, rich with fresh seafood and inventive preparations that are at the heart of her restaurants.

Chef Deb has just released a second edition of her critically acclaimed first cookbook, Baja! Cooking on the Edge. It features a mixture of authentic recipes and Chef Deb’s own Baja-inspired dishes. This is the book that drew Chef Deb’s (now) restaurant partners to her for the SOL Cocina project.

Baja! features more than 150 easy-to-follow recipes, peppered with fantastic stories and images that are as vibrant in color as the dishes are in flavor. Chef Deb explores these different cultural influences of Baja street food – everything from the classic Fish Tacos and Seafood Cocktels, to a wide range of inspired meat-based tacos – chicken, pork, chorizo – and fresh salsas. The uniquely Baja recipes featured includes delights like Clams in Tequila Butter, One-Pan Paella, Garlic Cilantro Steak and Chocolate-Jalapeno Truffles.

Seasoned travel journalist and wine and food writer Linda Kissam knows what makes for a good wine bar…

Angela and Mark Dutton of District WineWhat makes a great wine bar? Before I put my dollars down, I like to look inside and make sure there are really plenty of interesting bottles of wine that appear to be available by the glass and small plates of food that complement the wine promising a special evening. A good wine bar isn’t just a bar with some wine. It specializes in wine. I like a place where the owner takes a real interest in making my wine time a memorable experience.”

District Wine in Downtown Long Beach is such an establishment. They just celebrated their 4th anniversary. Angela & Mark Dunton are the welcoming proprietors.

As Linda confidently observes, “These guys know their stuff.”

Kedric Francis of Coast Magazine and the Orange County Register MagazineOur always debonair, roving food and travel correspondent in the OC, Kedric Francis, checks-in. He’s the Executive Editor of both The Orange County Register Magazine and Coast Orange County Magazine. He’s updating us on the new food market halls arriving in the OC.

Kedric will update us on the progress of the soon-to-be 4th Street Market in Downtown Santa Ana and The Anaheim Packing District. (That includes The Packard Showroom, Farmers Park, and Packing House.)

Podcasts

Segment One: Host Jet Tila and Producer Andy Harris
Segment Two: Owner / Chef Mark McDonald, Old Vine Café, The Camp in Costa Mesa
Segment Three: Chef Mike Minor of the Truck-U Barbeque rolling grill, Las Vegas
Segment Four: Ruth Reichl, New York Times bestselling author and long-time Editor of Gourmet Magazine
Segment Five: Charles “Chuck” Watson, Chef de Cuisine, Sheerwater, Hotel del Coronado, Coronado, CA
Segment Six: Executive Chef Deborah Schneider, Partner, SOL Cocina, solita and cookbook author
Segment Seven: Mark Dunton, Proprietor, District Wine, Long Beach
Segment Eight: Kedric Francis, Executive Editor, The Orange County Register Magazine, Coast Orange County Magazine